|One of the best things about being direct importers is that we taste the wines and we decide which wines are up to snuff to bring over for our customers. Direct importation also means there’s no middle man with his feet up on a desk carving out a chunk of change that gets passed along to the consumer. When we’re out on the road, we’re not just tasting the tried and true, we’re always looking for new producers and new wines, sometimes from lesser known locales. We’ve been on a bit of a roll this year, a recently discovered Red Burgundy turned some heads and sold out quicker than you can blink. The same thing happened 2 weeks earlier with a White Burgundy. Gone. Gone in a week gone. We’re going to do it again here; this time with Bordeaux. If you love Red Bordeaux that won’t break the bank, you’re going to love this one.|
|One afternoon in April 2010, in this very room, more than 80 barrel samples from Bordeaux’s 2009 vintage were tasted. As we all know, the vintage is and will be the stuff of legend. Of course with a vintage like 2009, no one needs a Bordeaux scout to tell them that Leoville Las Cases, Margaux, and Montrose were excellent. Mind you, it was great education to taste barrel samples from Bordeaux’s prized chateaux, but it was important to pay very close attention to the smaller producers; to find wines that were budget-friendly. Budget-friendly and GREAT, that is. There were several winners that came out of this room that day. I wrote about one of them shortly after returning from France. The futures sold out shortly thereafter. Well, budget-friendly winner #2 just landed here in our warehouse, and we strongly urge you to check it out.|
| Tasting numerous barrel samples one after the other is tough work, no matter what anyone says. Their similarities run into each other, and if one is not concentrating, the exercise is lost. When I tasted the sample for the 2009 Château Clauzet, I was greatly impressed. Calling it “easy to like” in my tasting notes, I admired its structure and balance. It is medium bodied; elegant as a princess. There is plenty of dark red fruit, smoky incense, and spice to charm the taster, but the trump card of a St. Estephe from a great vintage is its underlying mineral presence; and this one has it. The beautiful thing is that the 2009 Château Clauzet tastes like St. Estephe and the price for a case is lower than the price for one bottle of 2009 Cos d’Estournel.
A little about the Château: Belgian Baron Maurice Velge first dipped his toe in the St. Estephe water in 1997, purchasing 2-3 hectares of vineyards from Château de Côme. A short while later, he purchased Château Clauzet and its 5-6 hectares. The château sits in the village of Leyssac, just west of the road that connects the famous Cos d’Estournel with Château Montrose and others. After several other transactions, Clauzet’s vineyard plots total over 20 hectares. These plots are located between Montrose, Haut Marbuzet, Meyney, and Cos d’Estournel … some prime real estate. Baron Velge wasted no time hiring José Bueno, cellarmaster at Clerc Milon and d’Armailhac and 23 year employee of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, making him technical director of Château Clauzet. Respecting the individual terroirs is the name of the game now at Clauzet. Careful attention is paid to each plot throughout the year, and the fruit selection is strict. The result is a quality Claret that will put a smile on your face and will keep cash in your wallet. The 2009 Château Clauzet will certainly do that! – Peter Zavialoff
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For more info on Château Clauzet, click here.
|The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin tasted it out of barrel and had this to say, “Tasted at Vintex. The Clauzet has a rather floral, almost Margaux-like bouquet with good definition, smoky, earthy aromas developing with further aeration. The palate is full-bodied with dense, chewy tannins, a masculine Saint Estephe with good weight, but showing good definition and focus towards the finish that should unwind nicely throughout its elevage. Tasted March 2010. (88-90 points)”
After tasting it out of bottle, he remarked, “Tasted at the Cru Bourgeois 2009 tasting in London. The Clauzet 2009 has a very classic, cedar and sous-bois tinged bouquet with good depth of fruit. The palate is harmonious and well-defined with light, tensile tannins and very refined, elegant finish. Bon vin! Tasted September 2011. (90 points)”